Ros Burgin MRSS Lockdown

By Ros Burgin MRSS, Trustee

The first day of lockdown I simply took stock and tried to come to terms with the new parameters not only of the situation at large but also of my new boundaries, the footprint of my house and garden. 

Then I bit the bullet and began to steam clean the house, a tedious task but I let the shock wash over me and carried on cleaning.  By the time I moved outside to power wash the slippery winter green growth from the terrace and paths I had stopped worrying and was quite enjoying myself and the idea of a new piece of work using no power tools, super low risk, came to me that I could make outside where I am always much more at home.

I decided to make a scaled map of Cornwall and to think about its coastlines, fishing industry and the sea. I used to be a professional sailor for a few years, crew on private yachts and this experience and care for the marine environment has fed into my practice more and more.  The new piece of work should be exhibited in Cornwall and the idea of how I would make that happen kept me happy too.  The focus and making of a larger piece work brought some balance back and purpose to the days and I started to see a way forward for my practice to adapt to the future landscape. Then I became ill and had to pause everything and learnt it is very easy to mislay patience!  

There has been a revolution in the way people have embraced using technology to connect, “Necessity is the mother of invention” (Plato 400 BC) and we are all zooming now.  In the first few weeks Laura Ford FRSS and I got in touch with members in the south east and invited them to come and talk via zoom and it has been lovely to see who shows up, get to know their work and let conversation develop and get a sense of each other.  

Artists are creative thinkers and sculptors are inventive finding material solutions and new ways of working and adapting existing processes all the time.  It has been encouraging to see the stimulus of the crisis resulting in creative thinking and people beginning to find their own creativity and this becoming part of the general conversation. 

I hope that the nation’s renewed observation and appreciation of nature will persist and lead to lasting change in our behaviour after all infinite growth on a finite planet is unsustainable.  We should remember, we depend on nature – nature doe not depend on us.  As the Scottish-American naturalist and adventurer, John Muir, wrote, “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world”.

(RB 05 June 2020)